About 200 family members, teachers, elders and representatives of various entities assembled in the gymnasium of Voyageur Memorial High School Monday March 4, 2019, to determine ways to develop a more effective learning environment.
Mistissini Chief Thomas Neeposh
While the Assembly was held in the wake of an incident that is still being investigated, Interim School Principal Betty Ann Forward asked that the conversations, held in Cree Café style, focus on solutions rather than finger-pointing.
“Right now, we’re here to build bridges between the community and the school,” she said.
The event was attended by representatives from several entities, including the Cree Nation of Mistissini.
“I’m here to listen,” said Mistissini Chief Thomas Neeposh. “If we work together, I know we can do it.”
CSB Chairperson Sarah Pash
Cree School Board Chairperson Sarah Pash helped to place the gathering in the context of ancient Cree history.
“We come from a place that always seeks healing, that seeks togetherness. We come from a history where we all have a place to play in overcoming challenges,” Pash said. “We have the strength to get through anything, to face challenges courageously.”
The findings from the conversations will be prepared into a report that will be ready in a week, said Community Education Administrator Andy Baribeau.
“The goal of today was for none of us to feel powerless, and for as many people as possible to have a voice,” he said.
High school students spent the morning giving form to their own voice on the issue of school culture: their answers to the issues encircled the gym on Bristol board presentations, offering insight into the issues students consider important.